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LLNL Awarded $45M to Build Laser in Czech Republic

Photonics.com
Sep 2013
LIVERMORE, Calif., Sept. 19, 2013 — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been awarded more than $45 million to develop and deliver a state-of-the-art laser system for the European Union’s Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines facility (ELI Beamlines), now under construction near Prague.

The funds were received through Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC (LLNS) on Sept. 17, so the project in Dolni Brezany, Czech Republic, can begin immediately, the lab said.


The High Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System, or HAPLS, will be designed, developed, assembled and tested at Lawrence Livermore. It will be transferred to the ELI Beamlines facility in 2016, where it will be commissioned for use by the international scientific community. Images courtesy ELI Beamlines.


The design goal for the High Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS) calls for peak powers greater than one petawatt (1015 W, or 1,000,000,000,000,000 W) at a repetition rate of 10 Hz, with each pulse lasting less than 30 femtoseconds, or 0.00000000000003 seconds. HAPLS combines sophisticated semiconductor diode laser technology with advanced optics, integrated control systems and techniques for managing the production of ultrashort pulses of light delivered at a repetition rate that is well-suited for various applications, including medical imaging, particle acceleration, homeland security and quantum physics.


A CAD image of the ELI-HAPLS laser.


ELI Beamlines represents an investment of nearly 7 billion Czech crowns (about $350 million) on behalf of the European Union and Czech Republic government. It forms part of the pan-European ELI project that includes construction of two other major new facilities: Hungary-based ELI-ALPS, to investigate natural phenomena on attosecond timescales, and the ELI-NP in Romania, which will open the new field of photonuclear physics.

“LLNL was selected by the ELI Beamlines project through a rigorous evaluation process and will develop a world-leading laser system that will be at the heart of the ELI Beamlines user facility. It is evidence that ELI is a European facility, but with a real global dimension,” said Dr. Jan Ridky, the director of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. “Placement of this contract is a significant milestone, as we have now committed over half of the project budget — a tangible demonstration of our progress.”


Artist renderings of the ELI Beamlines facility, currently under construction in the Czech Republic. 


Researchers from LLNL’s NIF & Photon Science Directorate will work with scientists from the Czech Institute of Physics to design, develop, assemble and test the system at LLNL. After qualification testing is completed, the HAPLS will be transported to the ELI Beamlines facility in 2016, where it will be commissioned for use by the international scientific community.

“This marks a new phase in the long-standing relationship between LLNL and the European laser community,” said LLNL director Dr. Parney Albright, LLNS president. “It is an exciting time to be in the field of high-power lasers and their many applications to industry, academia and our mutual security.”

For more information, visit: www.eli-beams.eu  


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